An emerald At some point in the past, Linden Lab apparently entered into some sort of partnership with the Emerald team. By partnership, I mean it in the business sense: An special arrangement between two organisations that presumably benefits both.

The somewhat ironic result here, is that if Linden Lab had not made this special deal with Emerald, it is likely that Emerald would still be around today.

For Emerald’s side, it was able to sidestep certain terms of the viewer licensing and Linden Lab’s third-party viewer policies that it did not meet, and thus get listed in the Lab’s viewer directory, where another viewer with similar issues would not have.

Quite what the benefit to the Lab was by making this deal, I’m not at all sure. Despite roughly a third of unique daily users being Emerald users, I don’t think that was ever really a factor in the deal. I’ve asked, but I’m becoming increasingly certain that the Lab isn’t going to venture a response.

Once Fractured Crystal triggered an alleged denial-of-service attack against a third-party Web-site, Linden Lab had little option but to rein in hard and discard any special exemptions it had made for Emerald. Crystal resigned, and Arabella Steadham stepped up as titular head of Emerald.

While simultaneously laying out terms for Emerald to meet, along with a deadline of 3 September, Linden Lab encouraged Emerald’s users to try their luck with another viewer. Any other viewer.

The list of conditions that Emerald published were not arduous ones to meet, but the Lab wanted to keep them a secret. Lyons has reprinted key communications relating to them.

Here’s the summary version:

  • Use open mailing lists or forums for your developer communications.
  • Provide a publicly viewable source code repository
  • Provide public code commit notices
  • Require each committer to provide real-world identity information to Linden Lab as a signatory to the certification of compliance with the Third Party Viewer Policy
  • Update your posted Privacy Policy for the Emerald Viewer to specifically describe what user data has been collected or stored by any version of the Emerald viewer that may be used to log into Second Life. For all user data collected or stored, specifically describe in the policy how that user data has been used, displayed or shared
  • The Emerald viewer must not support Emerald’s licensed emkdu library or Linden Lab’s kkdu library, even if they are present on the system.

That’s not really a difficult list. It’s my understanding that all of the above conditions were met with time to spare.

The sticking point was the last item:

  • Lonely Bluebird, Skills Hak and Discrete Dreamscape be removed from the project.

Lonely Bluebird apparently preferred to kill the project rather than to step down, and also had administrative rights to deny the rest of Emerald access. Rather than step down to let the project continue, it seems that Bluebird chose to kill the Emerald project instead, leaving enough access to non-coder Steadham to write the suicide note for the viewer project.

Jessica Lyons had, between the lockout and the notice, already called time-of-death. Scuttlebutt has it that Fractured Crystal is making a trademark application to prevent anyone else from using the Emerald name in association with another viewer project.

And there, basically, you have it. If Linden Lab had treated Emerald like any other third-party viewer, Emerald would probably still be a going-concern.

If Bluebird had “taken one for the team” (as I believe the sports saying goes), then Emerald would, likewise, be alive today.

There’s probably a lesson or lessons in here somewhere. You’re all adults though, and you can probably figure them out yourselves.


According to whoever it is who is posting at Emerald (Tateru, you idiot! Read a little closer. That just looks like the same blog, and you have no idea who wrote it — sorry about that folks):

A reputable source from within Linden Lab hast just informed me that Phox, Skills, Fractured, Discrete, and all of their alt accounts (along with perhaps Arabella and some other devs, but that’s not yet verified) will be banned, and CDS will be removed from the grid by means of Linden deletion (i.e. CDS units will just disappear).

I’m not really sure how much stock to put in that. All we can do is wait and see.

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